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'Time against us' to rescue 10 Mexican miners who went underground for 3 days

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Luis Cortez and Dinah Beth Solomon

SABINAS — Flooded waters in Mexico on Saturday as officials consider whether to send divers to rescue 10 miners. A person who has been trapped underground for more than three days after a large pump has pumped water from a coal mine.

Miners were trapped in a mine in northern Coahuila on Wednesday afternoon after a tunnel wall collapsed during mining operations and flooded three wells.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Saturday would be "decisive" in deciding whether divers could safely enter the mine. But in the afternoon, Coahuila Governor Miguel Riquelme said the water level was still too high.

"Time is running backwards against us," he told family members at the scene, Mexican media reported. ``We are exhausted. There is hope for,” said Cecilia Cruz, adding that she had been hearing about mining accidents in her home state of Coahuila for decades before they happened. She locked up her nephew, Sergio Cruz, 42 years old.

Mud-filled tunnels and the potential for subterranean collapse could make it impossible for rescue teams to search for miners, even if enough water were extracted.

"Do they want to risk more lives? That would be an even bigger tragedy," she said.

Six of her divers from the Mexican Special Forces were sent to assist in the mine work. At this mine, her three wells, 60 meters (200 feet) deep, were initially more than half submerged.

Five miners have successfully escaped. One of them, Fernando his Pompa, said in an interview with a Coahuila radio station that he was brought to the ground in a wagon used to carry coal after the accident spouted a large amount of water. I'm talking about the situation.

"I hope there are some air bubbles," he said.

The mine, located in the city of Sabinas, began operations in January and had no "record of any kind of anomaly complaints," according to the Ministry of Labor.

Sergio Martinez, whose brother Jorge Luis Martinez (34) is trapped, said workers on the ground heard a thunder-like sound accompanied by jets of air when the accident occurred. They rushed to the mine, threw ropes and pulled the workers up by hand, but they could not reach Jorge Ruiz.

"I hope a miracle will happen so that he can survive," Martinez said.

(Reporting by Luis Cortes of Sabinas; Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Marion Giraldo of Mexico City; Editing by Will Dunham and Jonathan Oatis)